Back To Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival 2015 For A Lot More Flowers & A Tasty Gluten Free Dinner

Since our previous day at Epcot was on the chillier side we wanted to make sure we got back over there to enjoy the flowers, butterflies, and characters in a little bit of a warmer climate and thankfully we picked the perfect day for all of that. With the sun out and a little bit of a cool breeze first thing in the morning, we were off to explore some of the countries we missed the first time around and even squeeze in some of little one’s favorite rides! Before the World Showcase opened we finally made our way on Spaceship Earth which we had the pleasure of riding in French (makes for a funny ride and after story that’s for sure lol), Nemo and the aquarium which our little one loved exploring on her own, the butterfly garden which was just as much fun this time around as it was the first time, and I can’t forget our second visit to see Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie, friends that little one just had to revisit. 

Mommy & little one love by the butterfly topiaries!

Mommy & little one love by the butterfly topiaries!

Once the World Showcase had opened it was time for us to head over and venture through some of the countries little one had slept through on our first Epcot day. Mexico was a big hit with the Donald featured boat ride along with actually getting to see the big guy himself right outside. Then we were onto Norway which was the perfect pit stop for a light lunch along with a sweet treat, not for myself unfortunately, sorry gluten free folks out there, but a winner for my daughter and husband. With someone’s belly filled with a little sandwich and a lot a sweet pastry, we were on our way again to explore a couple more countries before our planned early dinner in Italy.

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Lunch at Epcot’s Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar started with some SPECTACULAR gluten free bread by Rotella’s Italian Bakery.

After a fun filled morning, little one decided to close her eyes for a bit after an impromptu Snow White visit. While little one napped, Mommy and Daddy wondered through some gift shops and then parked in a perfectly shaded spot next to the lake to enjoy the cool breeze that almost put us down for our naps too. Before long, we were all up and going again and decided to head in for an early dinner at Tutto Gusto, the wine cellar in Italy that’s become by far of our favorite dining locations in Epcot. We were seated quickly and greeted by our waitress who brought along the manager to take my gluten free order. Not surprisingly I went with my usual favorite of Gluten Free Pasta Pomodoro with the Chocolate Cherry Panna Cotta for dessert, but not without a starter of gluten free bread.

The non-gluten free bread sticks and focaccia arrived for Dan and little one which made a certain somebody a happy camper with a bread stick in one hand and a cup of apple juice in the other. Not too long after, my plate arrived with some very appetizing new gluten free bread that I hadn’t had before. After some inquiries I found out that they weren’t too pleased with their previous gluten free offerings so they had chosen to go with a new brand of gluten free bread by Rotella’s Italian Bakery. This bread was by far the best gluten free bread I’ve ever had! It was fresh, soft, not crumbly in the slightest bit, and had some pull just like a normal slice of bread. It was SPECTACULAR, so much so I’ve already inquired on their website about hopefully ordering some for my enjoyment at home.  

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Gluten Free Pasta Pomodoro courtesy of Epcot’s Tutto Gusto!

The gluten free bread was soon finished and this mommy-to-be couldn’t get over the sense of euphoria that the delectable bread put me in. It really was such a treat to enjoy a truly phenomenal gluten free bread that required no preparation and was just pulled straight from the bag! Anyway, soon after the bread delivery our main courses arrived and my Gluten Free Pasta Pomodoro looked just as delicious as always, so much so that little one decided to share my pasta with me instead of even tasting her chicken fingers. The pasta was cooked perfectly and was enveloped in a delicious tomato sauce with chunks of tomato and bits of burrata cheese scattered throughout. This is a perfect way to enjoy gluten free pasta and will keep us coming back for many trips to come. 

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A Gluten Free Chocolate Cherry Panna Cotta is the perfect way to end a meal at Tutto Gusto!

And without further delay, my chocolaty dessert arrived making mommy and baby very happy. The Chocolate Cherry Panna Cotta is an amazing example of a gluten free dessert that goes above and beyond offering a plate of fruit or cup of sorbet. The cherries on top are delicious of course but the star for me is the chocolate panna cotta below which is light and airy but creamy at the same time, a delicious treat for any diner but especially a gluten free one who rarely gets to indulge in desserts like these. 

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Mommy, Daddy, and Baby #2 while little one slept before dinner!

Dinner at Tutto Gusto was as always perfection. The staff there are phenomenal and perfectly attentive to the needs of a gluten free diner along with a little toddler who loves to say hello and show off her coloring and play-doh masterpieces. With another amazing meal under our belts at Tutto Gusto, it’s now become a must do dining experience with every vacation.

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A perfect ending to our Epcot experience during our 2015 Disney Vacation.

Since we had finished with dinner a bit earlier than usual we took our time meandering back through the rest of the countries and decided to hop on the monorail to enjoy some Magic Kingdom fun along with the parade later on that night. Our day in Epcot was such a relaxing one, allowing us to enjoy the warmer weather while exploring all of the Flower and Garden festivities with some Epcot fun in-between. We’re Epcot lovers so a little extra time there was perfect and definitely topped off an already special trip. 

Sincerely,

Lindsay (30 weeks)

Almost 30 weeks And 10 To Go Means Maternity Picture Time! Are You Expecting And Planning Maternity Pictures?

I cannot believe I’m staring at 30 weeks right in front of me. While this pregnancy has been far but easy there have been many moments that seem to have just flown by and now that we’re nearing the end we wanted to schedule some maternity pictures. We took maternity pictures during our first pregnancy and truthfully they’re some of my favorite pictures of Dan and I, and our little girl of course too. So I figured this time around we’d go ahead and schedule some family maternity pictures so we hopefully can capture these precious moments where we’re all deep in anticipation of meeting this little girl.

Anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE taking pictures, not of myself, but of my little family. They’re my pride and joy and having pictures of all of these important moments means the world to me. Unfortunately with me behind the camera taking the pictures that means we rarely have family pictures of the whole family unless I enlist someone to take ahold of our precious camera or pay to have them done. Even though my all time favorite thing in this world, besides my family itself, are pictures of them, unfortunately getting professional pictures done right and left isn’t really in our budget so we save the splurges for the big things that we just can’t do ourselves. Two moments that I could only capture myself if there were two of me are maternity pictures and newborn photos, two of the most special times that deserve extra special pictures.

Maternity Pictures With Baby #1

Maternity Pictures With Baby #1

Since just before having our daughter we quickly realized how costly professional pictures can get, especially when it comes to anything baby or child related. When I say costly I mean costly, to say I had sticker shock after shopping around a bit for maternity photos for baby #1 and now baby #2 would be an understatement. So if you’re at the beginning stages of contemplating maternity photos be prepared when you start looking for photographers because things can be pricey. What I would always recommend is setting a budget and sticking to it. Shop around a bit and see what the ranges are out there and then set your budget, know how much you’re willing to and/or are able to spend and stick to it. Remember, ultimately you just want pictures that capture all of the love and anticipation you have in those weeks before your new little one arrives, sans blowing your budget out of the water.  

A couple things to keep in mind when it comes to maternity or any kind of photos is the way photographers price things out. Something to keep an eye out for is how everything is priced before you book anything. Many photographers have just a session fee that doesn’t include any images but I still do see and always personally prefer photographers that have a flat fee for session and images. When it comes to the actual images itself you have to really know what you’re interested in. I’ve noticed that some photographers have minimum order requirements when it comes to ordering prints, canvases, albums, etc. so make sure you take notice of that before you book; while other photographers will give you an option of getting digital images, either all are included or a specific number that are offered a la carte. There’s a lot to keep in mind so definitely do your homework and make sure budget wise your favorites fit just right for you. 

Maternity Picture Of Pregnancy Past

Maternity Picture Of Pregnancy Past

Dan and I have done just that, first time around and now second time around. We knew at the very beginning of each pregnancy that we wanted to have certain moments captured by a professional and we budgeted and saved so we could accomplish that. But besides budget needs it’s so important to know what kind of pictures you’re looking for. What I recommend is shopping around on pinterest. Figure out what kind of pictures you’d like to get, i.e. very intimate ones, more posed, outside vs. inside, etc. and then from there see what photographer fits the best. I always make a board on pinterest and show a photographer that board before we schedule anything just to make sure they know what I’m looking for and to see if they’re able to do it. Check out some of my favorite maternity photo ideas on my Maternity Board!

So if you’re expecting definitely consider capturing this time in an extra special way with maternity photos. We ultimately decided on taking maternity photos not just for more family pictures of ourselves but also for something extra special that we can one day share with our little one down the road, nothing more special than that. Hope all of my tips and advice help you in your decision! Please share any other tips or favorite maternity photos!

Sincerely,

Lindsay (29 weeks) 

 

 

Warmer Days Were Ahead In Our 2015 Disney Adventure, Starting With Some Animal Kingdom Fun!

We love our Animal Kingdom days not only for the park itself but also the sheer fact that they are hands down much more relaxing and slower paced than any of the other days in our vacation. This time around our Animal Kingdom day was no different and was perfectly timed right in the middle of our trip. So with a little extra sleep under our belts and a slightly later breakfast we were off to indulge my little animal lover in one of her favorite adventures in Disney.

First on our schedule was the safari which I know some say is off limits when you’re pregnant but having ridden the ride before when pregnant I felt more than comfortable. We requested the front row in our vehicle so it was slightly less bumpy for this expecting mommy and we were off to enjoy the safari. We all loved this ride, by far one of our favorites in Animal Kingdom and if you haven’t heard this recommendation before, I highly recommend hopping on this one first thing as most of the animals are up and about. After our safari ride we wandered the shaded, curvy paths, letting our little girl get some energy out in a less congested venue while seeing some her favorite animals. With animal watching checked off the itinerary it was time for some snacks, a gluten free, frozen chocolate and nut covered banana for mommy and a Mickey pretzel for little one while we headed off to watch some of the best shows Animal Kingdom has to offer and Dan hopped on a rollercoaster. P.S. I love the frozen banana, such a delicious gluten free treat!!!!

Some warmer fun at Animal Kingdom!

Some warmer fun at Animal Kingdom!

With a full morning of fun we were more than ready for some lunch. Now this was an adventure to say the least. Just a word of warning if you’re visiting Animal Kingdom right now, there’s a lot of construction going on in certain areas so that means a lot of walls which isn’t a huge deal. Unfortunately though, our all time favorite lunch location in this park, Flame Tree Barbecue, has been closed for refurbishment since earlier this year so it too was walled up and missing. Good news is that you can still order some of their amazing barbecue offerings at other stands nearby and even dine at some of the pavillions towards the river but for the gluten free vacationer things are a bit more complicated than usual. Thankfully I could still order myself some gluten free pulled pork with a manager who was called to the stand, but the portion was much smaller than usual and you were limited to only getting a bag of chips for a side rather than the delicious fries that I love so much at Flame Tree. The meal was delicious as always of course but I just could have gone for a lot more pulled pork than what I actually got. I for one can’t wait until the refurbishments are finished and I can enjoy some gluten free barbecue in all of the splendor Flame Tree is known for!

While lunch was a little different than always, it was a huge relief that I could personally still enjoy my usual but sadly there was an even bigger disappointment in store at Animal Kingdom for the gluten free folks. One of my all time favorite perks of visiting Animal Kingdom is indulging in a BabyCakes breakfast treat, courtesy of the allergy stand, but unfortunately the menu has changed a bit and there appears to be little to no BabyCakes gluten free treats at the allergy stand any longer. I had heard that the product offerings had changed but crossed my fingers and hoped for the best anyway that maybe that day would be my lucky day. Sadly, it wasn’t, they no longer seem to offer my all time favorite gluten free treats by BabyCakes, their delicious and perfect donuts. I believe they still offer the cupcakes but I can’t tell you how disappointed I was that instead of the fresh BabyCakes breakfast treats they now offer the donuts by Kinnikinnick. I’m hoping that one day I’ll be lucky enough to witness a return of BabyCakes gluten free donuts, and maybe even more products, to the Animal Kingdom allergy stand and hopefully even more locations throughout Disney. 

Overall our day in Animal Kingdom was fantastic as always with a few hiccups dining wise but with an early dinner scheduled at a new dining location for us we couldn’t have been more excited for our meal to come. So we called it an early afternoon and took a short bus ride over to Animal Kingdom Lodge. We’d never dined at any restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge before but we’ve always wanted to take a peak at the stunning resort and dabble in some of the eats, Dan more so than I seeing as I’m much more of a conservative and less adventurous diner. So this vacation we thought it would be a great time to dine with the animals in clear view and enjoy some new cuisine at Sanaa.

Gluten Free Naan at Sanaa!

Gluten Free Naan at Sanaa with three accompaniments!

We arrived early afternoon to hopefully explore the resort a bit while little one napped. The nap part was successful but instead of exploring we/I decided to rest our feet on a beautiful, shaded porch where we could watch giraffes, birds, and zebras wander by. It was the perfect, relaxing nap time with amazing views of all Animal Kingdom has to offer but the views from the porch were nothing compared to the front row seating at Sanaa itself. We checked in early and managed to snag a perfect seat right in front of a window allowing us to see all kinds of wildlife pass by. Little one was in rare form to start the meal so things were a bit chaotic at the beginning but thankfully they calmed down a bit allowing all of us all to take in the beauty of the experience.  

Normally I’m hesitant to try new things but while pregnant I’m even more so mostly because of my extraordinarily sensitive palette and stomach. The gluten free menu had a huge selection but I decided to go simple and start with the gluten free version of the bread service that I’ve been reading so many phenomenal things about and try the tomato soup for my main dish. Along with the gluten free naan I chose three accompaniments including the Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus, Mango Chutney, and Cucumber Raita.  

Gluten Free Naan

Gluten Free Sanaa Indian Bread Service for yours truly!

I cannot say enough fantastic things about the gluten free naan. It was AMAZING!!! While I’m not sure what regular naan is supposed to taste and feel like, the gluten free version is beyond phenomenal. I only wish I could indulge in the soft and chewy textured bread service while at home but that’s why vacations are special right! As far as the three accompaniments, I mostly chose them because the chef suggested them as the non-spicy options and I’m so glad that she did. The hummus and raita were by far my favorites, the mango chutney wasn’t really up my alley mostly because of the sweetness but Dan personally loved it. Thanks to the gluten free bread service alone at Sanaa we’ll definitely be back in the future, and I may even order my very own bread!

Gluten Free Tomato Soup

Gluten Free Tomato Soup at Sanaa

While Dan and little one’s main dishes arrived, my tomato soup had as well. The tomato soup was perfectly seasoned with a few pieces of cheese floating around as well, making it a perfect little dish. Even though the soup was definitely tasty, one of my least favorite pregnancy ailments had been large and in charge that day of our vacation so thanks to my acid reflux I only could enjoy a little bit. 

View from our table at Sanaa!

View from our table at Sanaa!

I just couldn’t get over the amazing view we had while we were eating dinner. Most of the animals we were able to see grazing around and occasionally walking by but we were fortunate enough to have a closer visit from a little someone. Excuse my lack of knowledge of wildlife but we liked to call him the funny haired, tall bird who seemed to really enjoy the restaurant diners, coming over repeatedly and pecking at the windows where we were seated, definitely brought a few smiles to our little girl. 

Gluten free Kulfi!

Sanaa’s Gluten Free Coconut Kulfi!

Dinner at any Disney restaurant isn’t complete without dessert so after rave reviews of all of our main dishes, we were ready to enjoy something sweet. I opted for the gluten free Kulfi which happened to be coconut that evening with some fresh fruit. It was certainly a delicious dessert but I’m personally not a huge fan of coconut so I only took a few bites and shared my fruit with little one who seemed to prefer mommy’s dessert over her own s’more sundae, certainly not what her mommy would’ve chosen out of the two. I’ve read that the Kulfi flavors do change so I’m certain I would’ve loved a different flavor but for me this one was just too much coconut.  

sdfsd

Ending a peaceful Animal Kingdom day with a little Magic Kingdom fun, parade, fireworks, and some more night time splendors!

Our day at Animal Kingdom and dinner at Animal Kingdom Lodge were fantastic! It’s still one of our favorite days during our vacation and I can officially say after rave reviews from Dan and nearly finished portion of naan pizza by little one that we’ll be dining again at Sanaa. I’d say this Disney day was a success and I’ll be dreaming of that amazing gluten free naan until we meet again!

Sincerely,

Lindsay (28 weeks)

Some Spring Beach Fun For Mommy & Little One At 27 Weeks!

We are loving how Spring is really starting to stick around in our neck of the woods. It’s hit or miss of course between the spurts of Spring showers but on those sunny days with highs in the 60s or 70s we spend as much time outside as we can handle. Our post Easter week we really took advantage of the few gorgeous days we had, including a walk through the park, a trip to the lake, a special zoo day on the weekend with Dan, and a mommy and little girl trip to the beach. 

Spring and Fall are probably my favorite times for the beach, especially right now being pretty pregnant, the cool breeze and mild temperatures are just perfect for some lounging around and playing in the sand. So last week I packed up some sand toys, a blanket, and some lunches on the go and headed out early for some beach time, a trip my little girl couldn’t have been more excited about. She loves playing in the sand, ever since she was a baby, so this day trip was right up her alley. What a perfect day it was, a little chilly when we first got there but the cool breeze was a warm welcome to this mommy-to-be who seems to be going through another bout of pregnancy nausea. We combed the shoreline for sea shells, little one played a little soccer/ chasing after the soccer ball, and then her favorite digging and building sand castles. It was a beautiful day, one of those special just mommy and baby times that I always cherish with my little girl. 

Mommy and baby beach time at 27 weeks.

Mommy and little one beach time at 27 weeks.

As my weeks tick by I know adventures like that will get harder and harder but we’re certainly going to make sure that we squeeze in a few more Spring beach days before the heat rolls in for the summer. Despite all of the beach fun we enjoyed, I did feel a little bad because my sweet little water baby couldn’t get over the no swimming in the ocean yet rule. She just kept glancing out at the waves rolling in and asking about her bathing suit but thankfully would quickly change direction to something else. I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll be able to get down to the beach some days this summer without boiling hot temperatures and let our little girl finally splash around in the forbidden waves.

For now, we’re holding onto every single day the sun is out and the cold temperatures aren’t. I’m just loving the Spring weather, watching my little girl run around in the sun with a smile from ear to ear and feeling my other special girl kicking around inside in excitement. It’s a beautiful time for our family and I’m just making sure I take in every single moment!

Sincerely,

Lindsay (28 weeks)

 

 

Some Hollywood Studios Fun With A Few Jackets And Lots of Delicious, Gluten Free Food

In all of my Disney travels over the years I can never remember having to wear a jacket, let alone pants. But our 4th day in Disney was definitely on the chillier side so jackets and pants were a must. The short spurt of chilly weather in the middle of our trip was certainly a rarity for us on our Disney vacations but I have to say I preferred it over the sweltering heat that we usually have experienced on our summer vacations. So with sweatshirts, jackets, and pants on we were prepared for our half a day in Hollywood Studios. 

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios

We usually don’t spend too much time in Hollywood Studios seeing as there’s a ton for our little one to do but we certainly packed a lot into our shortened day. We started off with a bang and twisted and turned on the Toy Story ride, which our little girl happened to love this time, attempting to pull the string and play the game with her too big 3D glasses on. On the way to Daddy’s Aerosmith rollercoaster, we had to make a quick stop to give some hugs to Pluto and Chip and Dale. We were back in route again and Daddy was off to ride his ride while little one and I picked up a new pressed penny book and added some new pressed pennies. After a little rest for Mommy and little one a warm bench, Daddy soon reappeared and we were off to catch the Disney Junior show, which is always a winner, followed by some hugs, kisses, and a little dancing too with Sofia and Jake. The last adventure before lunch was our little girl’s first time in the Honey I Shrunk The Kids inspired land which she absolutely loved; anything that includes climbing ropes, running around, and conquering twisty paths and slides is a winner for our courageous little girl.

Gluten free lunch at Studio Catering Co..

Gluten free greek salad lunch at Studio Catering Co..

Since we were right next door we decided on Studio Catering Co. for lunch which in my book is a huge winner for gluten free diners. In the past I’ve taken advantage of their delicious gluten free roll choice and enjoyed a sandwich and fries, take a look at the Gluten Free Italian sandwich, but this lunch I was more in the mood for a salad so it was a gluten free greek salad this time around. My salad was put together safely and in a separate space and I was able to watch every bit of it being put together making me feel a lot more comfortable. Soon enough all of our meals were delivered and I was enjoying a Gluten Free Greek Salad with my favorite, an OMG Gluten Free Fudge Brownie for dessert. It was a perfect lunch, just enough to tide me over until a little snack that afternoon, a strawberry macaron maybe?  

We finished up our day at Hollywood Studios with the Little Mermaid show, another winner for little one and headed out as our little girl had fallen asleep. We’d never taken the boats from Hollywood Studios but we decided it was a great opportunity especially since we had dinner at Epcot a little later and we could probably keep little one sleeping a little while longer that way. So with that we got a tour via boat of some of the other resorts between Hollywood Studios and Epcot and finally arrived at Epcot’s back corner near France. Since little girl was still sleeping and we happened to be in the right neck of the woods, I enjoyed another Gluten Free Strawberry Macaron from the snack stand while we put our feet up to enjoy some peace and quiet over in England.

Gluten free dinner at Rose & Crown Pub in Epcot's England.

Gluten free dinner at Rose & Crown Pub in Epcot’s England.

As nap time came to a close we decided to try to sneak in for an earlier dinner in England since it had warmed up enough to maybe enjoy an outdoor seat on the lake. Lucky us we were squeezed in early and got a great seat by an outdoor heater with a great view of the lake and the hustle and bustle on the main street, plenty to occupy our rambunctious toddler. Our waitress was phenomenal and made sure all of us were well taken care of, especially making sure the chef, Chef Joe, was out and tending to my gluten free needs without too much delay. We’ve dined at Rose & Crown before so Chef Joe actually remembered us, even recalling my order of a Gluten Free Filet with Garlic Herb Butter, Green Beans, and Garlic Mashed Potatoes. It was great to see a familiar face in the ordering process, especially one that remembered us too. So without further delay our orders were all placed and our food was soon on its way.    

A Rose & Crown Pub gluten free filet with crispy green beans and garlic mashed potatoes.

A Rose & Crown Pub gluten free filet with crispy green beans and garlic mashed potatoes.

The filet with the garlic, herb butter sauce was just as delicious as before, Chef Joe really did me proud. Each bite was just as tasty as the last and even though this pregnant mommy has really been off of meat this pregnancy I managed to eat a huge portion of my filet. I should mention that the accompaniments were just as delicious as the main star on the plate. The string beans were fresh and crispy and the garlic mashed potatoes were so creamy and had just the right amount of garlic. My main dish was delicious but I definitely was looking forward to a sweet treat at the end.  

Rose and Crown gluten free English trifle with layers of fruit and custard, hold the cookie.

Rose & Crown gluten free English trifle with layers of fruit and custard, hold the cookie.

Per Chef Joe’s recommendation, I went with the Gluten Free English Trifle, sans the cookie, which is layers of fruit and custard. The custard was phenomenal and the strawberries were a perfect match. While I certainly enjoyed my dessert it was even better watching our little girl, who ordered the same treat I had but with the cookie addition, enjoy hers even more. Spoonful after spoonful elicited that grin and “mmm” sound making all of us smile along with her enjoyment. 

All in all, I can’t say enough great things about dining gluten free at the Rose & Crown Pub. My whole family, along with our little girl, loves dining here each and every time, this time being no exception. Our meal outdoors, even though it was chilly, was so fun and made even better by our waitress who our little girl just loved talking and playing show and tell with. While the staff are truly fantastic as a whole, the highlight for us was the attentiveness of the chef. The chef himself brings out your meal and dessert and even checks on you to make sure all was to your liking. Chef Joe does a fantastic job catering to any request and deserves a huge thank you from my family and probably many others for the great work he does behind the scenes.

Such a fun night in Epcot!

Such a fun night in Epcot!

It was a perfect day in Disney, a little chilly, but from start to finish filled with good food and lots of fun. We had a great day in Hollywood Studios and an even better night in Epcot which we topped off with few rides. What we love about each of our Disney trips is that every day in Disney is special and holds so many different memories. This trip was no different and by Day 4 we had already created so many special memories and we couldn’t wait to enjoy even more the next few days!

Stay tuned for some Animal Kingdom fun!

Sincerely, 

Lindsay (27 weeks)

Celebrating Easter At 26 Weeks!

Almost to the third trimester and I couldn’t be more excited. While for most everybody around me it seems that the time has flown by, for the actual mommy who’s pregnant, the past 6 1/2 months have felt just like 6 1/2 months. I’m just so excited to meet this little girl and see who she is which makes the waiting feel that much longer. Nonetheless, she’s not done cooking yet so it’s a few more months of dreaming about her and waiting on pins and needles until she arrives.

Even though it’s been tough at times, just as we did with our first pregnancy we’ve really tried to keep taking adventures especially now that we have another little girl to adventure with. Dan and I love to see and do things, whether we’re planning a big vacation to Italy or a day trip to the zoo we’ve always had adventurous spirits. Since we were pregnant with our first little girl and have had her since, that spirit hasn’t changed. We want to show our little girl/girls the world the best we can and give her some really special memories. So this pregnancy we’ve really tried to continue doing the same, and even though Disney was a fantastic vacation, I’m so glad Spring is starting to appear and we can give our little girls some amazing days the next few months, filling them with park days, zoo trips, and beach and boardwalk adventures! Yup, that’s right, both of our little girls will be enjoying our plans. Even though she’s not here live and in person yet, our smallest little girl has been a part of every single day the past 6 months so just like with our first little girl, we’ll be able to tell her about all of her adventures in mommy’s belly too!   Easter 2015 One of my favorite and most special parts of this pregnancy has been that we’ve celebrated two huge holidays while our smallest little girl has been in my belly. Our Christmas was definitely a little extra special this year; even though my belly was definitely popping out thanks to our new little baby floating around inside, we didn’t yet know if we’d welcome a little sister or a little brother. We were just beginning to get used to the idea that our next Christmas we’d have two little ones running around.

By the time Easter had arrived though my belly was in full bloom and there was no denying that we had a second little baby on its way, in fact another little girl. And even though mommy is moving a little bit slower, we had an amazing (and a little chilly) Spring day that we could celebrate all of the Easter festivities. But no matter what we were doing, our smallest little girl was certainly making her presence known the entire time by kicking and turning around constantly, always reminding us that she’ll be coming out very soon and joining in next year. As our Easter came to a close and we said goodnight to our little girl, she shared one of my favorite moments with us and kissed me belly telling her little sister that she loved her. We really are so lucky that we’ve been blessed with such a special little girl that has the biggest heart in the world.   Easter, 26 weeks  It’s been a long road so far but one that we’ve been more than happy to walk down. Being a mommy and being pregnant are truly two of the most special and my most favorite things to do but when we finally welcome our smallest little girl and we hold her for the first time, it’s that moment that I live for. For now, I’ll keep dreaming of who our smallest little girl will be and one of my favorite dreams of all, how much our tremendously happy little girl will love her little sister when she finally arrives.

  • Go to gluten free foods: Nausea has seemed to rear it’s ugly head again so eating has been a little rough the past few weeks but thankfully I was able to enjoy some delicious gluten free Easter dinner equipped with ham, deviled eggs, coleslaw, salad, fresh fruit, and cheesecake!
  • How am I sleeping?: As good as can be expected at this point. Definitely getting up a few times for some bathroom trips but I’m managing to get at least a few hours in.
  • How’s baby doing?: Baby is checking out well with a strong heartbeat everytime. I just had that lovely glucose test so I’m waiting on those test results but for now everything appears to be going well. She definitely is starting to move from being horizontal the entire time to now being vertical so breathing is getting a bit harder.
  • How’s mommy feeling?: Mommy’s hanging in there. I’m tough so it takes a lot to break me but as I told our little one in my belly the other day, she’s really making her mommy work for her. I have to say I’ve felt completely different this time from my first pregnancy with the exception of a few things. No matter how I feel though my constant worry is about this little one and keeping her safe and healthy. 

Sincerely,

Lindsay (27 weeks)

The Big Move Is Only A Few Weeks Away

No, we’re not moving but our little girl will very soon be moving into her big girl room. Since we’ve gotten back from Disney we’ve definitely made some progress in there. The less fun stuff is done like spackling, sanding, and painting, yay! And now it’s finally starting to look like a finished bedroom with painted walls, a new rug down, and a bed assembled. One of my favorite additions though to her room is her new light. When the room was just an office we opted for a neutral, wooden ceiling fan. We like the versatility of a ceiling fan so it seemed like a good fit for the office at the time but size wise it was just too big and hung too low in our smaller room. So much to my husband’s dismay I wanted to replace it with a brighter, lighter light when it became a potential big girl bedroom.

I’ve always loved the delicate, crystal mini chandeliers that I’ve seen in nurseries and bedrooms, like this one on my inspiration board. When I first starting looking for something like this one I was absolutely shocked at how expensive they could be. Don’t get me wrong I’m well aware of how pricey light fixtures are in general but seeing as my intention was only to get a small, pretty light for a little girl’s room not install a fancy, massive crystal chandelier I was definitely taken aback at how much even little chandeliers could be. I scoped out every in store and online option there was and had pretty much settled on keeping our ceiling fan when I finally stumbled upon a few really great options at Kohls oddly enough.  

Gorgeous mini chandelier, perfect for any bedroom!

Gorgeous mini chandelier, perfect for any bedroom!

Kohls had a couple different chandelier options that were perfect both in size and price but we finally settled on this white, crystal mini chandelier. It was exactly what we were looking for, small enough to not hang too low in the room, equipped with enough wattage to actually produce some light, and the perfect delicate look that I wanted for her room. What we loved most though about the light fixture was the price along with the 30% discount we had and then $10 Kohls cash that we got back. After not too long the light arrived and it was installed in no time by daddy himself. It looks amazing and is a perfect finishing touch to the room.

So with some of the bigger projects done our little one has started to safely venture into her new domain and seems to really like it. Although she probably thinks she’s now getting two bedrooms I think she’ll really enjoy the bigger space, especially once the fun features are added in there. So what’s left to do before the big move? Well, we picked up a new dresser which I’ll fill you in on later, we have to hang her canopy, stain or paint or play table, pick up bed rails and a waterproof sheet (yay potty training!), and then add some finishing touches here and there. We’re almost there!

Sincerely,

Lindsay (26 weeks) 

 

Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival To Start Day 3 & Dinner At Hollywood Studio’s Brown Derby To Finish

If you’ve never been to Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival and you’re able to, I highly recommend planning your next Disney vacation between March and May to experience it. We were lucky enough to get down to Disney last May and we caught the tail end of the Flower and Garden Festival, but this year we were able to experience the kick off of the festival in all of its glory, from the concerts and food to the topiaries and our daughter’s favorite, the butterfly greenhouse! Each and every bit of Epcot we always love but the Spring additions made it that much better!   

A day at Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival 2015.

A day at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival 2015!

In the past, we’ve experienced your typical Disney vacation with very humid and hot days trekking through the parks, so vacationing this time in March was a totally different experience. I’ve never had to wear a jacket or two while I was on vacation in Disney but that’s vacationing in March for you, never know what weather you’ll get. So while most of our days in Disney were much more mild warm to hot, sunny days, we had about 1 1/2 to 2 days where the weather was in the 60s warming up sometimes to the 70s. It was actually a really nice treat to be in Disney and not be in sweltering heat like we have been every vacation in the past, but all I have to say is thank goodness I packed some maternity pants and jackets because this mommy-to-be would have been rocking some men’s winter Disney attire for a few days!

Loved all of the topiaries, but this one by far was our little girl's favorite!

Loved all of the topiaries, but this one by far was our little girl’s favorite!

So with a few layers we were ready to start our chillier day in Epcot and enjoy all that the festival had to offer. First up was the creme de la creme for my little girl, she was going to meet her favorite friends, Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie, but not without a quick pit stop to see Pluto first, without a line I may add. Her visits were filled with frantic waves and jumping in excitement to tons of hugs and kisses galore, these are by far her best friends in the world and there’s certainly no denying how much she loves them. After paying her friends a visit we were on to experience Soarin’, well Mommy and Daddy anyway, meanwhile little one collected some pressed pennies for her new book. Afterwards it was back to rides for our little girl, from the The Land to Nemo and her favorite experience, the aquarium. By the time we finished up with the early morning rides we decided to head over and check out the butterfly greenhouse. This was amazing and really made our daughter’s Epcot day extra special. She just loved spotting all of the butterflies flying around her and landing in the flowers, so much so that we probably did a good three to four laps around the greenhouse.

A turkey leg lunch in America while Dan enjoyed some food stand treats!

A turkey leg lunch in America while Dan enjoyed his very first Fish and Chips!

After taking in the butterflies it was time for the World Showcase to open so we headed over to start our worldwide adventure which was going to be chock full of princess visits. Since opening time is around lunch time we managed to squeeze in Alice in Wonderland and Belle before we were all chomping at the bit for some lunch. While Dan headed over to try out the Fish and Chips in England and our little girl was kept satisfied with a German soft pretzel, I decided to go with another Turkey Leg in America. To be honest, gluten free lunch options that are up my alley are few and far between in Epcot so I’m usually stuck nibbling on snacks but this time around mommy and baby needed something more substantial. The turkey leg was just as delicious as always and made a perfectly filling lunch.

Gorgeous flowers around the water. Can you spot the Mickey?

Gorgeous flowers around the water. 

Once we were all refueled, we wandered through some more countries and finally arrived at my little girl’s favorite princess. Thankfully by this time it had started to warm up so we could all take our jackets off while waiting in the sunny line for Snow White, which normally is extremely unpleasant when it’s blistering hot but it was warmly welcomed on this day. Finally the big moment arrived and our little girl could give that long awaited hug to Snow White. 

A dream dessert for any gluten free, pregnant mommy!

A dream dessert for any gluten free, pregnant mommy!

It was a long morning so not surprisingly after Snow White our little one crashed giving Mommy and Daddy a chance to see the countries a bit more and then sit down for some much needed rest ourselves but not without a special snack for mommy. I eyed this treat up since I first saw the Flower and Garden Festival menu so to say I was a little excited that it was indeed gluten free would be an understatement. So on our way to find some quiet benches for the rest of nap time we stopped at the food stand in France and picked up a Gluten Free Strawberry Marshmallow Macaron! 

A Gluten Free Strawberry Marshmallow Macaron!

A Gluten Free Strawberry Marshmallow Macaron!

This macaron was AMAZING! I’m normally not a huge macaron person but this one was perfection. A light cookie with just the right amount of strawberry sweetness stuffed with a delicious marshmallow and a surprise strawberry jam center. It was a perfect little snack for this mommy-to-be, so perfect in fact I may have gotten another while we were in Epcot later in the trip! 

Dinner at Hollywood Brown Derby

Dinner at Hollywood Brown Derby

After a great half a day in Epcot it started to get more chilly so we headed back to Wilderness Lodge to get changed before dinner that night. Ever since we had made our dinner reservations months ago we’ve really been looking forward to experiencing the Hollywood Brown Derby for the first time. I’d read really good things about the food and we decided to splurge on a special meal for just us three this time around. Sadly though, from start to finish the meal was a disaster and the food did not live up to the hype. We arrived for our 5:15 reservation and were left chasing around our little one for about 45 minutes until we were seated, needless to say we were exhausted before dinner even started and weren’t too happy about the late start. Our waiter took forever to greet us and was less than pleasant the entire meal but nevertheless I held out hope that their Cobb salad would meet my high expectations. Well, I had a good hour and a half to build up more excitement for my salad because we hadn’t seen any food until then, not even bread. I even had to flag the manager down to complain and hurry things along so at least our little girl had her food in the meantime but to say I was starving would be an understatement.  

Creme brulee trio at Hollywood Brown Derby.

Creme brulee trio at Hollywood Brown Derby.

Finally, our food had arrived without any apology of the severe delay. The Gluten Free Cobb Salad was okay, nothing that I’d be too thrilled about and Dan sadly felt the same way about his meal. We quickly ordered dessert so we could get out of there before it got too late but it seems quickly doesn’t exist in that restaurant. My premade Creme Brulee trio took quite awhile to arrive and was again pretty underwhelming. As a whole, we most certainly would never dine at Brown Derby again not only because the service was terrible, I mean literally the worst we’d seen in Disney where each and every meal we’d ever had has been fantastic, but also because the food we felt didn’t warrant 2 meals from the dining plan. 

It was an unfortunate ending to a really great day but thankfully that night we were able to catch a glimpse of the Magic Kingdom fireworks from our nice and warm room. Can’t ask for a better ending to a day then that! Stay tuned for more Disney fun!

Lindsay (26 weeks)

Not All Pregnancy Cravings Can Be Gluten Free

It’s been a long four years and some months since my diet changed over night. One day I literally woke up and wheat and gluten were long gone. But along with the sad disappearance of my once happy diet were the horrible symptoms that seemed to plague me for years on end. I can definitely say that every single day since day 1 has been a challenge; I have to choose every day to live this healthier lifestyle for myself, and that’s where will power comes in handy. Thankfully, I guess I have a ton of it because I’ve never cheated once since the big change many moons ago.

Changing your diet though for medical reasons, either your diagnosis told you to do it or your symptoms did, is totally different motivation to stay strong than just following a new diet fad. Once I saw the huge change in my quality of life I knew that living wheat and gluten free for me was a change for forever, not for a few months. Accepting that from my early twenties until eternity I’d be a little different and have to live a life that’s a little bit harder was always the hardest concept to accept and still is, but nothing beats feeling healthier inside and out. 

Even though the rewards have been huge for me it doesn’t mean that there haven’t been certain life instances that make living wheat and gluten free more frustrating and difficult. Many a social situation has been a source of slight frustration, mainly weddings and dinner parties where you always feel like the world just isn’t made for you. But I have to say the hardest times that have challenged my different lifestyle the most are my pregnancies. Living gluten free without worrying about nutrition for you and a baby, without feeling tremendously more hungry than you normally would, and without pregnancy cravings that will drive you mad if you don’t get something that tastes similar is a challenge that was completely new to me a few years ago.

Having a healthy and happy gluten free pregnancy is 100% possible but it doesn’t mean that you’re not frustrated from time to time and that your will power is truly put to the test. Faced with already an extremely picky palette, daily sickness, and other appetite suppressing feelings, on many occasions during both of my pregnancies I looked at my diet with more frustration than I had in years. I’d never wanted to cheat my diet more than I had during my pregnancies partly to just survive the really sick days and on the opposite side to enjoy filling foods that I couldn’t stop craving that I knew would fill my always hungry belly. Being alone in feeling this way was the most difficult part of all and hence the birth of my blog, I wanted to create a place for other mom’s and mom-to-be’s to share their triumphs and tribulations about gluten free living, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

So today I wanted to share my biggest gluten cravings this pregnancy, you know the ones that make me wish I wasn’t gluten free for just a day so baby and mommy could eat safely and happily. Yes, yes I know this is a nightmare to even think about the what ifs but this is pregnancy, not every craving can be so easily gluten free, and this is a real gluten free life where thins aren’t always easy.   

Donuts. Ah, my arch nemesis. I never frequented Dunkin Donuts on a daily basis but donuts popped up here and there often enough during my gluten days. Since going gluten free, I’ve certainly found a substitution that makes me more than happy when I really need it but there are times when we get our little girl a special holiday donut or when I saw a gigantic chocolate frosted donut with sprinkles at Epcot that makes things so much harder for me. Gluten free donuts are all cake donuts which certainly come close to pre-packaged varieties in the grocery store but they don’t hold a candle to the light and airy ones at Dunkin Donuts. Maybe one day I’ll be seeing those light and airy pastries again outside of my dreams, but for now, Katz gluten free donuts will fill that craving just fine.  

Hoagies. This is a toughie. Yes, I can certainly make myself a lunch meat sandwich on a gluten free roll or baguette but I miss so much being able to go to our local Italian hoagie place and order a delicious thick roll stuffed with all of the hoagie fixings. It’s not the convenience that I miss so much, though it is definitely nice to not have to make everything yourself, but let’s face it, I’ve yet to meet a gluten free hoagie roll or even gluten free rolls that even come close to those delectable rolls that hold a hoagie so well. This has been a huge craving this pregnancy and while my husband has been great getting me gluten free lunch meats from time to time, they’re nothing like the hoagies from my memory.

Pizza. There are certainly plenty of gluten free pizza options out there, homemade, store bought, and restaurant take out included, but can any of us honestly say that we don’t look at the massive pies that come out of the pizza ovens and back at our gluten free individual, thin crust pies with disappoint, I was a pizza crust lover, I loved getting to the edge of the pizza and nibbling at the doughy crust. I’ve never met a gluten free pizza that offers that same feeling but I have to say I’ve been fortunate to come across a few good substitutions that although don’t offer that doughy pizza feel do come pretty close in look and taste. While I make pizzas often myself, I do enjoy a store bought Freschetta Gluten Free Pizza and a take out pie from Mama Mia Trattoria

I’d be lying if I said that gluten free living is easy peasy; while the rewards and benefits always outweigh any of the challenges and obstacles, it certainly doesn’t mean that it’s an easy road. Living a lifestyle that’s different from the majority of everyone around us is tough and only gets tougher when you’re going through life changing events like a pregnancy. Life gets tougher, true, but it doesn’t become impossible. I many a time this pregnancy, more so than my last, have talked about this with my husband and he is a good reminder of why I’m on this path to begin with. Living this way is the best thing for me and my baby and no matter how difficult, challenging, and lonely it may feel, it’s to hard to always see it but it is completely worth it. My husband is a great calming influence for me and always lets me vent my frustrations but sharing all of these feelings with you is what’s most important. Hopefully my steps down this path can help you now or later in life. Like I’ve always said, pregnancy is a tough time for many of us but when you’re gluten free it’s even tougher so let other mommy-to-bes and seasoned moms out there be a support for you and that little one. 

Sincerely,

Lindsay (25 weeks)

Top 5 Gluten Free Friendly, Pregnancy Cravings

Pregnant or not I get my fair share of cravings, but nothing beats that relentless hankering that won’t seem to get out of your mind or belly until you satisfy it. Yup, that’s a pregnancy craving! During both my first and now second pregnancies I ate pretty similarly, never really craving anything bizarre but always pulling from both sweet and salty sides. Since I’ve been strictly gluten free for almost five years now my wants from my old gluten diet are minimal on a regular day but what I’ve noticed is that while pregnant, gluten or not I’ve wanted so many things that I just can’t have. Your will power is definitely put to the test when you’re gluten free and pregnant so I thought I’d fill you in on my top gluten free cravings or cravings that can be easily satisfied gluten free and my top gluten cravings that just in no way, shape, or form can be satisfied the same. So let’s start off with some fun, gluten free friendly pregnancy cravings that we can all enjoy safely!  

5. First a sweet, than a salty snack. Okay I have to admit, I’ve always been somebody who needs to eat something salty after something sweet or vice versa, I mean can you ask for a better balance than that?!?! My favorite pairing by far has been a bite of ice cream and some baked potato chips not far behind. Some of my favorite brands that offer gluten free varieties are Turkey Hill and Herrs, both of which have convenient allergen lists on their websites and reliable ingredient labels on their products. Check these lists out here and pick out your favorites!

4. Pickles. Ah, my guiltiest pleasure in the salt department. I love some dill pickles but so many of them have gluten in them making it really difficult to indulge. One brand that I’ve always eaten has been Claussens, but in recent months Kraft’s labeling policies have changed and Claussens now may have sources of gluten thanks to the spices in the ingredients. After some lengthy discussion with Kraft they said nothing has changed from their suppliers so Claussens are still fine for now but sadly their outside suppliers can make changes at any point unbeknownst to us consumers. I’ve looked into other delicious dill pickles and I know Boar’s Head offers gluten free dills if you can find them so their on my list of must finds!

3. Salads, in all shapes and forms. Yes, not everything that I’ve been craving has been in snack form. Thankfully, I’ve been able to get my daily dose of fruits and veggies through a fresh fruit salad or perfectly assembled cobb, antipasto, or just plain old tomato and lettuce salad. I’ve always loved salads but you just never know what pregnant you will and won’t love so it’s been a welcomed craving to still want these. Sadly, my acid reflux has risen to intolerable proportions so fruit salads have taken a hiatus until the acid reflux goes away or baby arrives, whichever comes first. 

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Toscano’s Ristorante Antipasto Salad 

2. Disney Dole Whip. Okay so I realize I’m not in Disney World anymore but I still don’t want to wake up from that beautiful dream of having some of the tastiest, pregnancy friendly treats right at my fingertips at all times. By far my favorite Disney treat, pregnant or not, is the Dole Whip but I have to say this little girl and her mommy wish that we had endless Dole Whips at our beck and call right now. With Dole Whips thousands of miles away, I’ll have to remember fondly the swirled vanilla and pineapple ice cream floating in refreshingly sweet pineapple juice!

A Gluten Free Dole Whip Just For Mommy-To-Be!

A Gluten Free Dole Whip Just For Mommy-To-Be!

1. Bagels, bagels, bagels. This is absolutely my number one craving; in fact I could eat a bagel for breakfast, lunch, and dinner happily at one point in my pregnancy. To be honest, I think this one developed more out of necessity and survival than actual desire thanks to some pretty nasty all day sickness. Either way, bagels have definitely become one of my staples, filling my belly for more than 5 seconds after either breakfast or lunch. Now that they’ve appeared in my local Whole Foods, my favorite go to gluten free bagels are those by Sweet Note, an authentic bagel taste and texture with a crispy outside and chewy middle. 

Sweet Note Bagels

Sweet Note Bagels, a gluten free consumer’s dream!

6 months in and eating is still a challenge for me but for all different reasons. While my nausea and sickness has seemed to subside for the most part, acid reflux has become a major player these days so I really have to watch my acid inducing food intake. Besides that though, even though I’m definitely still very particular about what I eat, I’m really trying to enjoy pregnancy eating and indulge when I can in some gluten free treats here and there.

Being gluten free and pregnant is certainly not easy, especially when those non-gluten free cravings hit, but thankfully I’ve had many a craving that can be easily satisfied with a little gluten free magic. Stay tuned for some gluten cravings that are a little tougher to make disappear. 

Sincerely,

Lindsay (25 weeks)

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